Is Gambling a Vice?

Lord of Vice: Regency Romance Novel Book Cover Lord of Vice: Regency Romance Novel
Rogues to Riches Book 6
Erica Ridley
history, literary fiction, romance, Regency
31 Aug 2018
Kindle

Appearances can be deceiving…

Vice merchant Maxwell Gideon is wickedly handsome, sinfully arrogant, and devilishly ruthless. Rumor has it, his gaming hell has the power to steal souls and grant miracles. Truth is, Max only owns half of The Cloven Hoof. He’d buy out his silent partner if he knew the man’s identity. But it’s hard to focus on business matters when a fallen angel tumbles right into one’s lap…

Miss Bryony Grenville has a well-earned reputation as an unrepentant hoyden. But even the gossipiest of the pinch-faced matrons ruling High Society could never imagine the daughter of a baron secretly financing the ton’s most infamous gambling parlor. Its maddening, sexy proprietor doesn’t suspect a thing… and two can play at temptation!

In the Rogues to Riches historical romance series by USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Erica Ridley, Cinderella stories aren’t just for princesses… Sigh-worthy Regency rogues sweep strong-willed young ladies into whirlwind romance with rollicking adventure.

Well of course Gambling is a Vice and people have been known to lose a fortune and their whole estates at the turn of a card. Hence the proprietor of a Gambling Den in the Regency period might be know as the Lord  of Vice.

But perhaps that isn’t all he is. Perhaps he is egalitarian as to who he admits – to lose money – everyone welcome as long as you can pay.

Erica has chosen a topic here for this latest in her ‘naughty’ Lords series which doesn’t sit well with me. And her heroine helps her ‘Lord’ with her mathematical skills – for which we have to laud her – to work out how to make the most profit from the games of chance. Or that is, how to get people to lose the most cash…

But we do like Max – we have met him before in other books in this series, as he does have another side, which is softer and does help those who have fallen on hard times – and not by gambling!

So Bryony, the final sibling meets her match and also the tenant of her property which gives her a goodly amount of profit – which goes back into her sister’s school. Bad turned into good?

What I like most about Erica Ridley’s books is that she is true to the times. She writes with the ‘correct’ Regency novel phrasing – as invented by Georgette Heyer and attempts to echo the correct speech mannerisms using some phrases and words which were in common use then, but no longer. She accurately reflects some of societal issues and events – as far as is possible whilst writing a modern novel.

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Please don’t tempt me….

Lord of Temptation Book Cover Lord of Temptation
Rogues to Riches #4
Erica Ridley
history, literary fiction, romance
WebMotion
March 30, 2018

Be careful what you wish for...

When Lord Hawkridge inherits a penniless marquessate, he must abandon his courtship of the lowborn girl he loves. Years later, she rises from commoner to textiles heiress. Hawk has never banished her from his heart. Here's their chance to share his home! But how can he convince a woman whose trust he destroyed that he desires her far more than her money?

Faith Digby's chaotic world is too full to bother with men. She controls half a boarding school, one life-endangering secret, and two recently gentrified parents. There's no time for the old flame roaring back into her life. Not when admitting she still loves him would imperil everything and everyone she holds dear...

In the Rogues to Riches historical romance series by USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Erica Ridley, Cinderella stories aren't just for princesses... Sigh-worthy Regency rogues sweep strong-willed young ladies into whirlwind romance with rollicking adventure.

A nicely told tale (as always from Erica) that follows on from the story of the school for indigent girls we’ve read about before in this series.

This is now the story of Faith, the co-founder/headmistress/accountant. We now find out how her family came into their money and just how recent it was – they are seriously nouveau-riche and ‘trade’ and thus far from respectable to the haughty ‘ton’. We also meet young Christina. the book-worm. But I found her reading matter a little young by my standards but still, she was Victorian/Regency period and thus perhaps it was advanced for that age.

Victorian/Regency morality and class prejudice are nicely explored.

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No Noise?

House of Silence Book Cover House of Silence
Sarah Barthel
Fiction
Kensington
2016-12
300

Oak Park, Illinois, 1875. Isabelle Larkin s future like that of every young woman hinges upon her choice of husband. She delights her mother by becoming engaged to Gregory Gallagher, who is charismatic, politically ambitious, and publicly devoted. But Isabelle s visions of a happy, profitable match come to a halt when she witnesses her fiance commit a horrific crime and no one believes her. Gregory denies all, and Isabelle s mother insists she marry as planned rather than drag them into scandal. Fearing for her life, Isabelle can think of only one escape: she feigns a mental breakdown that renders her mute, and is brought to Bellevue sanitarium. There she finds a friend in fellow patient Mary Todd Lincoln, committed after her husband s assassination. In this unlikely refuge, the women become allies, even as Isabelle maintains a veneer of madness for her own protection. But sooner or later, she must reclaim her voice. And if she uses it to expose the truth, Isabelle risks far more than she could ever imagine. Weaving together a thread of finely tuned suspense with a fascinating setting and real-life figures, Sarah Barthel's debut is historical fiction at its most evocative and compelling."

The publisher’s write-up sounded fabulous and so I attempted to read this book several times. But found that whilst the beginning was engaging, once Isabelle was committed to the asylum, I found myself getting less interested and less interested. Somehow my attention wandered… I never managed to complete the book.

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Do a Crime – get Schooling? No Contest.

Lord of the Night Book Cover Lord of the Night
Rogues to Riches #3
Erica Ridley
history, literary fiction, romance
WebMotion
(20 July 2017)

Unlike proper debutantes, Miss Dahlia Grenville is secretly Robin Hood in a bonnet. Her home for wayward girls has too many dependents and not enough donations. But just as she’s about to pull off the heist of the Season, she tumbles straight into the arms of the handsome detective who has sworn to deliver Mayfair’s mysterious thief straight to the gallows. Highly principled Bow Street runner Simon Spaulding’s world is black and white. There’s no mastermind too clever, no criminal alive who can escape the hangman. Until he realizes the delightful young lady he’s been courting is a liar and a thief. Suddenly, his career—and his heart—are in peril. How can he bring her to justice when it means losing her forever?

And again Erica writes a good historical romance with a modern twist – or at least a feminist twist.

Here we have a nicely brought up young woman not only starting her own school for destitute and desperate young girls but also finding a way to support the school through somewhat illegal means – although she would point out that no-one was actually physically harmed, and anyway, those she took from could well have afforded to donate instead, but didn’t. So almost deserved it….

And we have the start of the Peelers to add to the mix. Which again will intrigue people who like their history and crime fiction…

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Reading, Writing, and Women

The Words in My Hand Book Cover The Words in My Hand
Guinevere Glasfurd
literary fiction, historical fiction
Two Roads
February 9, 2017
414

The Words in My Hand is the reimagined true story of Helena Jans, a Dutch maid in 17th-century Amsterdam, who works for Mr Sergeant the English bookseller. When a mysterious and reclusive lodger arrives - the Monsieur - Mr Sergeant insists everything must be just so. It transpires that the Monsieur is René Descartes.
But this is Helena's story: the woman in front of Descartes, a young woman who yearns for knowledge, who wants to write so badly she makes ink from beetroot and writes in secret on her skin - only to be held back by her position in society.
Weaving together the story of Descartes' quest for reason with Helena's struggle for literacy, their worlds overlap as their feelings deepen; yet remain sharply divided. For all Descartes' learning, it is Helena he seeks out as she reveals the surprise in the everyday world that surrounds him.
When reputation is everything and with so much to lose, some truths must remain hidden. Helena and Descartes face a terrible tragedy and ultimately have to decide if their love is possible at all.

A story based in speculation about facts – what caused Descartes to have a friendship with Helena, a maid? And how did Helena manage to learn to read and write when it was extremely uncommon amongst women of the Quality, let alone a maid?

Well, the author has made some suggestions within this book that link the facts in a way that makes total sense – with perhaps a little embroidery here and there, just to flesh out the known characters and known occurrences.

This is a sensitive tale of a young girl, Helena, who is forced by family circumstances to become a maid in the household of a bookseller in 1635.

Helena narrates this story as it happens to her and she tells us of the way in which she manages the household and her work, and how she learnt the rudiments of reading and writing (on her hand for lack of knowledge or access to, paper, quills, and ink) from her brother who was schooled by tutors.

The bookseller, Mr Sergeant, ekes out his living by renting the attic rooms of his house to like minded gentlemen and thus Descartes comes to stay. And Helena encounters him and his servant, and learns to write properly. All this at a time when paper was extremely expensive and not for the ‘common sort’ to have access to.

Helena and her maid friend, who she teaches to read and write,  wonder what life would be like if all women could read and write. Perhaps they could then manage their own businesses and not be dependent on men for their livelihood and income? A world that they do not get to see.  As they live in a world where books are still extremely expensive and a man (never a woman) who has a library of 100 books is considered a scholar and wealthy.

Meeting Descartes changes Helena’s life forever, and not just because she learns to read and write properly.

I found this a fascinating and sensitive story and could not put it down. I wanted to know more of this strange relationship between the maid and the renowned scholar.

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